Now back in the states I might think who we elect president is no one’s business and I don’t want to hear any grief over that from foreigners.
But I am in Spain and from this perspective I can see it a little differently.
The U.S. is not just any nation. We have been the leader of the free world at least since the end of WWII in 1945. Other nations look up to us, even our enemies have had to respect us (whether they wanted to admit it or not). Freedom-loving or freedom-yearning people the world over have followed our lead.
Spain lived under a sometimes brutal and always harsh dictatorship of Francisco Franco for several decades. It was not until his death in the 1970s that Spain moved toward democracy (albeit re-instituting a monarchy — along with a new democratic government — as a symbol of unification I suppose and maybe to give the political right reason to go along with the rest of the crowd).
(The union is being challenged right now by a separatist movement in Catalonia, and it has faced other obstacles in the past, such as that from the Basque separatists, who appealed to a distinct or actually unique culture that suffered under Franco.)
But democracy has flourished in Spain, despite challenges, and the political left has had its turn at power in their parliamentary system with a conservative currently holding the prime minister position but without a majority in the legislature, so the left can still have its effect, along with centrists. And I am no expert on Spanish politics. You know we U.S. citizens, we think we are the only one’s who exist and our news media pretty much ignores the politics of the rest of the world due to lack of interest of readers and listeners and web surfers.
So it is with some dismay here in Spain that the U.S. elected narrow-minded person as president with nationalist and far right-wing tendencies, with a xenophobic attitude, and what certainly appears as racist tendencies — and worst of all a world view that boils down to America first, you are on your own the rest of the world.
(Now since Trump will deny things immediately after saying them, trying to hide behind a wall of non-sensical and equivocal statements of position and tortured explanations, some die-hard Trump supporters might say I have it all wrong. I don’t. He is a narrow-minded egotist with visions of grandeur and he is a bit unstable to put in mildly. He is capable of doing some good but is more inclined to do of so much evil at the same time. It is not my job to explain why — one only has to take an honest look at his recent history and then the rest of his public life to know he is not the one to lead the free world. And he is in way over his head.)
A Catholic monk (and I am not Catholic by the way) basically blessed me in greeting but with the caveat, despite Trump. Another Spaniard groaned about Trump when he heard that I and one other person were American citizens.
Oh, and then there was the civil servant who lamented that Obama was nice, but Trump…
An article in the main newspaper here stated that with her re-election as Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel is the leader of the free world.
It has come to this folks: we took the lead and with the help of our allies defeated fascism in the name of Adolf Hitler of Germany in 1945 (along with the militarists of Japan) and became the beacon of freedom to people worldwide. But through a fluke in our electoral system, perhaps the better candidate not being quite attuned to the mood of the people, and through inattention and down-right apathy among the voters we have relinquished our position as world leader to Germany.
Personally I prefer that the U.S. be the leader, albeit a benevolent and kind one. Rank has its privileges. Even Trump would probably say that anything less than number one just doesn’t cut it.
Oh, and in the best Spanish I could muster I told that Spanish civil servant: “No es mi culpa” (it is not my fault). I did not vote for Trump. But I did vote.
We really need to take extraordinary, but peaceful and legal, measures to rid ourselves of this curse.
If enough people wrote their congressmen and senators (at least by email) it would seem some pressure, to include induced resignation, could be brought to bear.
Of course living with a president Pence (remember him?) might not be all that great but I think he might be more stable and traditional and then perhaps quite beatable less than four years from now or if not, then by god he might deserve a full term himself.
On the other hand, with Trump’s continued legislative failures, the Democrats might prefer to keep a weakened president of the rival party in power.
I must note that Spain’s prime minister Mariano Rajoy (of Spain’s conservative People’s Party) paid his respects to Trump at the White House this week, pledging support against world-wide terror and Trump in turn supported Rajoy’s position against the break-away of Catalonia. I am surprised that an American president would comment on what is really an internal matter for Spain. But it is comforting to think that Spain remains an ally to the U.S. With Trump we need to hold on to the friends we still have while we still can.